Many netizens are angrily questioning why a victim of violence isn't afforded the respect she clearly deserves after a mural honouring the late Noor Mukadam was vandalised in Sialkot on Monday.
Residents of Sialkot had created a mural of Mukadam to honour and remember the 27-year-old after she was brutally murdered in Islamabad on July 21. Photos of the mural were widely shared and appreciated on social media. The background of the mural was reportedly painted by Mukadam herself.
But when people visited Ghanta Ghar on Monday, they discovered that Mukadam's picture on the mural had been defaced. Users shared pictures of the vandalised mural on social media to express their anger.
"Angry men vandalised Noor's picture on a mural she painted herself in Sialkot, " a user tweeted. "I fail to understand why and how just a simple picture and mural, and poetry would offend some especially after what happened to her."
Many others see the apathy and indifference shown by the perpetrators as a reflection of wider societal indifference towards women who experience harassment, violence and abuse at the hands of men.
"Probably no image that better reflects Pakistan's treatment of women than that of a woman's face scribbled over roughly with black ink," a user posted.
Another user tweeted, "I just came back from the clock tower in Sialkot where they have defaced a mural one of my family friends had put up of Noor. Apparently we don’t even believe or respect [victims] even when they’re dead. I have no words to explain my outrage."
One post on Twitter read, "We say that we have to die in order for you to believe us, but no not even in death? What could you possibly have against a woman who was murdered and beheaded?"
"It's painful to see how people can project their hate on an innocent woman. The woman who was a victim [of] such a gruesome crime. What kind of society are we living and breathing in?" asked another user.
Some Twitter users sarcastically alluded to Prime Minister Imran Khan's recent remarks made in an interview to PBS NewsHour while sharing pictures of the defaced mural. PM Imran had said, "having traveled all over the world, I find that, in Muslim countries, in Pakistan, even in other Muslim countries I have seen, women having — far more treated with respect and given more dignity."
"Wow so much for 'women in Pakistan get a lot of respect'. [People] can't even stand mural of a dead woman," a user posted on Twitter.
One user point out that posters of the Aurat March are regularly vandalised and such occurrences aren't exactly new. "Most Aurat March art pieces put up in March stand defaced, painted over, scratched off," they said.
News of the vandalism comes after the Aurat March in Faisalabad was cancelled reportedly due to "pressure by local authorities". The march was also meant to honour Mukadam and raise voices on behalf of victims of violence in Pakistan.